Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

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Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.jpg
LocationCentral Park, New York City
Coordinates40°47′6.32″N 73°57′37.71″W / 40.7850889°N 73.9604750°W / 40.7850889; -73.9604750Coordinates: 40°47′6.32″N 73°57′37.71″W / 40.7850889°N 73.9604750°W / 40.7850889; -73.9604750
Basin countriesUnited States
Surface area106 acres (43 ha)
Average depth8.8 m (29 ft)
Water volume3.8 million cubic metres (3,100 acre⋅ft)
Shore length11.58 mi (2.5 km)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir (originally called, and still known by locals as, the Central Park Reservoir) is a decommissioned reservoir in Central Park in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, stretching from 86th to 96th street.


Map of notable buildings and structures at Central Park (note: not all entrances shown). Pan and zoom the map and click on points for more details.

Design and construction[edit]

The reservoir was built between 1858 and 1862, to the design for Central Park of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux,[1] who designed its two pumphouses of Manhattan schist with granite facings. It was never a collecting reservoir. It replaced the smaller, nearby receiving reservoir. It received water from the Croton Aqueduct and distributed it to Manhattan.[2]

Heinrich's 1875 Guide Map of Central Park

The reservoir was decommissioned in 1993, after it was deemed obsolete because of a new main under 79th Street that connected with the Third Water Tunnel, and because of growing concerns that it could become contaminated.[3] Though deemed obsolete it remained a part of the NYC water supply and it was intended to be used to supplement the city's upstate water supply in drought emergencies.[3] Papers were signed to allow for the transfer of the reservoir in 1999 from the Department of Environmental Protection to the Department of Parks and Recreation.[3]

The year 1999 was chosen because it was the projected completion date for a filtration plant at Van Cortlandt Park, near the Jerome Reservoir in the Bronx, which is part of the city's Croton water-supply system.[3] The water filtration plant was activated in 2015.[4] Concern about the reservoir's future grew in spring 1992: many people worried that the city would put turf over it as was done in the 1920s, when the adjacent Lower Reservoir was deemed obsolete. Today the Great Lawn rests on that reservoir's former site.[3] An 1875 map of Central Park clearly shows the two reservoirs.[5]


It was renamed in honor of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1994 to commemorate her contributions to the city (which included saving Grand Central Terminal from demolition and then renovating it to be an architectural landmark, protesting against the building of structures which would hinder Central Park’s beauty, and serving as a board member of the Municipal Art Society) and because she enjoyed jogging in the area,[6] which lay beneath the windows of her 1040 Fifth Avenue apartment located on the Upper East Side.


The fountain in the reservoir

The Reservoir covers 106 acres (43 ha) and holds over 1,000,000,000 US gallons (3,800,000 m3) of water.[1] Though no longer used to distribute New York City's water supply, it provides water for the Pool and the Harlem Meer. It is a popular place of interest in Central Park. There is a 1.58-mile (2.54 km)[7] jogging track around it and it is also encircled by the park's bridle trail. Bill Clinton, Madonna, and Mrs. Onassis have all run the track. It is often visited by tourists, especially when its double pink "Yoshino" cherries (Prunus x yedoensis),[8] followed by Prunus serrulata 'Kanzan' cherries, are blooming.

The rhododendrons along the "Rhododendron Mile" were a gift to the city from Mrs Russell Sage in 1909. It is one of the main ecological sanctuaries in the park, housing more than 20 species of waterbirds: aside from the familiar mallards and Canada geese, there may also be seen coots, mergansers, northern shovelers, ruddy ducks, buffleheads, loons, cormorants, wood ducks, American black ducks, gadwall, grebes, herons and egrets, along with various species of gulls, making it a popular venue for birdwatchers.[9]

In popular culture[edit]

In films[edit]

In television[edit]

Panorama of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir at Central Park looking North
Panorama of the reservoir looking South

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Central Park Reservoir - CentralPark.com". July 16, 2007. Archived from the original on December 11, 2007. Retrieved December 2, 2007.
  2. ^ "Central Park Reservoir". Archived from the original on November 21, 2007. Retrieved December 2, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d e Roberts, Sam (August 28, 1993). "131-Year-Old Reservoir Is Deemed Obsolete". The New York Times. Retrieved December 2, 2007.
  4. ^ Press Office, DEP (May 8, 2015). "Croton Water Filtration Plant Activated". DEP Press Release. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  5. ^ of Congress, Library (1875). "Hinrichs, O. (1875) Hinrichs' guide map of the Central Park. New York: Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann, Lithographers. [Map] Retrieved from the Library of Congress". Library of Congress. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  6. ^ Kifner, John (July 23, 1994). "Central Park Honor for Jacqueline Onassis". The New York Times. Retrieved December 2, 2007.
  7. ^ Mileage given as 1.58 Archived February 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Some of the oldest trees remain from the original gift from the government of Japan in 1912; the earliest plantings of Prunus x yedoensis in the US were made in 1902.
  9. ^ "The Reservoir in Central Park". Retrieved December 2, 2007.
  10. ^ a b c d Smith, Kyle. "How the movies celebrate the Central Park Reservoir". New York Post. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
  11. ^ Altman, Anna. "A Real-Life GIF In Central Park". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 5, 2015.

External links[edit]